There are circumstances in life where you are forced to use the big guys! One example recently was when a friend of mine explained that he had been issued with an iPhone by his company and so basically had no choice but to use it. Same same with Steam where you need to use your credit card, as with Amazon or the Google PlayStore etc., etc..
However, how would it be if there was a way whereby you didn't need to use your real name or credit card ;)
Let’s start by going back to chapter 10:
I recommend using an alternative name and country during any setup of your phone. And your company doesn't need to know you've done that! Next, you need to download apps but here you usually need a matching credit card so how do you navigate around that?
On Bitrefill you can purchase iTunes, Steam, GooglePlay, Netflix, phone credit (load), even 7/11 credit in some countries, Viber, Skype, PSN and Amazon credit, you can even book hotels and flights this way. In other words, you can get most of the things you would need using your credit card and all without a name attached. Plus keep in mind, you can chose any country for your store!
Consider also when you chose the country for the iTunes Store as if, for example, you select the UK then you can get Disney+ or Amazon Prime or SkyGo with your iTunes credits. This would be in the UK store, so if you are a Premier League watcher, this gives you some interesting opportunities. Same goes for the German store and the Bundesliga. In some apps to stream you may need a matching VPN, but hey, that's no biggy!.
When using Bitrefill you can use a bunch of cryptocurrencies, so far they accept Bitcoin (including lightning), Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Dash or payment from your Coinbase account (but that wouldn’t be a smart option though as your name is attached to that).
So here is a great option for loading your devices (GooglePlay). I would strongly recommend using F-Droid. Many of the apps you need to use on a daily basis can be replaced with an open-source version which can be found in the F-Droid store. If, however, you need GooglePlay (paid apps) and, of course, iOS (iTunes), there is sadly no option for either to the actual iTunes Store. Consider reading last week's chapter for more information on how you can make your iOS more secure (with more to follow next week).
The blocking power of a browser
Netflix, Amazon Prime or any of the other data collecting monsters can be given a fake (alternative) name and account and if you separate those from your real accounts you are halfway to being 'hidden in plain sight'.
If you are using Facebook, Zoom or any of the other data collectors for work (as your employee or your school may force you to), I strongly recommend using them on a browser only basis! Use Firefox and via a special add-on to keep them separated from the rest of your browser.
For Facebook, for example, you could use a Facebook container on Firefox, but the basic message must be 'do not use the apps, if you can avoid them!.
Retailing on the quiet
Bitrefill is a great way to start your journey to 'hiding in plain sight', but what if you want something like Amazon for shopping?
Well, at this stage containers can separate these from your other browsing habits, or even a browser only for Amazon would be a start. I must say there is not much out there, at least not with the selection Amazon has to offer. However, we do have a few options for you.
OpenBazzar is an established shopping option and you should also look to the newer but even more private and totally decentralized Particl open marketplace.
Just talking a bit about the current Particl v2, it works perfectly well - for 'geeks'!
I honestly believe it is great, if you are a geeky type who is willing to go the extra mile to make your shopping experience even more secure and private. However, on that basis, it didn't exactly scream "Mass Adoption!". This should change with the release of v3 which is due any day now and I look forward to getting a full review out to you on the new format open marketplace.
It has the potential to be a game changer when it comes to online shopping without manipulation. In other words, no tracking, no data capture (and sell-on) and it will even erdicate the screwing over of sellers with copied products etc. That, amongst others, is a (mal)practice that Amazon is known for along with many other unsavory manipulations, screwing sellers and buyers over and over whilst charging huge fees and diminishing their leverage to keep them in line when online!
After all, how else can you get so rich if you were being fair and honest with a marketplace that started by selling books but now not only has a former NSA chief in house as well as huge government contracts for surveillance and clouds that power the internet (and contain so much of your data!).
Let's just add that Particl not only accepts the Particl payment option but also has a built-in swap exchange and can handle most of the main cryptocurrencies out there.
'Hiding in plain sight' might not be the golden bullet to being more private, but it's a start and a start that can make the difference in your daily life..
As always I highly recommend nextDNS as it's easy to use and will block pretty much everything you need to block!
We may have nothing to hide, but we equally have even less to share!
Stay safe, stay secure!
The Privacy Advocate